Floods in Tucson region claim 2 lives
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Heavy downpours Monday resulted in two deaths, multiple rescues and caused class cancellations and disruption of school bus service at many school districts.
A woman died Monday after her vehicle was swept downstream in a wash on Tucson's east side.
According to the Tucson Fire Department, crews responded to reports of a car in the Alamo Wash near Kolb Road at 9:31 a.m. The first unit on the scene could not see the vehicle.
A bystander reported that the car was pinned against a pedestrian bridge, completely
the crew began to attempt a rescue, the car was pushed under the bridge and swept further downstream. Firefighters were able to see one person in the car before it disappeared under the water, which was about 12 feet deep. TFD units searched downstream at various locations before finding the car about 30 minutes later about three blocks away at E. 22nd Street. It was pinned with several trees and other debris against a concrete tunnel. The victim was later identified as Debra Annette Williams.
"You see the water here and storms come so fast and dump so much water so quickly," said Aaron Cooke, a neighbor in the area. "It's just sad to see someone lose their life just going to work or something in the morning."
This incident was one of many throughout the day, as heavy downpours caused washes across Tucson to run. Emergency crews were kept busy rescuing stranded motorists throughout the city.
In Pinal County, A 69-year-old man called the PCSO Communications Center just after 12:30 p.m. to report he and his wife were stuck in their vehicle that was floating down the Cadillac Wash after attempting to cross the flooded area by Suizo Road near Oracle Junction.The man stayed on the phone with the dispatcher as he and his wife exited the car that began to take on water. The man said he made it to shore but his 76-year-old wife who couldn't swim was swept away by a current and he couldn't see her, according to the PCSO.
Deputies and Arizona Department of Public Safety officers searched the wash and its bank and found the couple's vehicle about a quarter mile down the wash from Suizo Road.
Crews located the woman's body just after 2:30 p.m. near the edge of the river, about a quarter mile away from the car.
Rural/Metro Fire crews rescued one person from a vehicle that attempted to cross running water on River Road east of Pontatoc.The Tucson Fire Department assisted three people it said were trapped in their car that was stuck in a flooded street on Santa Clara Avenue on the southwest side.
Later on Monday afternoon, the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross assisted a 76-year-old woman and her five dogs displaced by flooding in the area of Old Ina Road and Yucca Villa, near Oracle and Ina.
Pima County instituted a staggered-release schedule for its employees, based on commute distance. Employees who live more than 45 minutes from work were to be released at 3:15 p.m., those 30 to 45 minutes from home at 3:45 p.m., those 15-30 minutes from home at 4:15 p.m. and employees within 15 minutes from home at 4:45 p.m.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department posted a tweet on Twitter saying access was restricted to DeGrazia Elementary School on the northwest side. Parents were told to use the following route from Cortaro Farms: North on Camino de Oeste then west on Bald Eagle.
Sunnyside Unified School District said there would be no bus service for students at Desert View High School, Challenger Middle School, Santa Clara Elementary and Summit View Elementary because of heavy rain and flooding. Meanwhile, in the Marana Unified School District, parents were advised to expect delays in bus service.
All JTED classes in Pima County were canceled. Classrooms at the Faith Lutheran School near E. 5th Street and Alvernon Way were flooded.
Gov. Jan Brewer declared a statewide emergency because of record rainfall in Phoenix and flooding in Tucson.
The wet weather also caused power outages. Nearly 1,800 customers were without power this morning near Marana.
Pinal County residents who need sand bags can call 520-866-7047 or 7046 for assistance. Pinal County residents need to bring their own shovels to 3535 East Hunt Highway.
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